Tropical Storm Isaias has spawned tornadoes and dumped rain during an inland march up the US east coast.
It earlier made landfall as a hurricane in North Carolina, where it piled boats against the docks and caused floods and fires that displaced dozens of people.
At least one person was killed when one of its twisters hit a mobile home park.
Royce Potter, a fifth-generation seafood purveyor and owner of Potter’s Seafood in Southport, said he rode out the storm on a boat docked near his business after he got the impression from forecasters that his area would be spared.
“They got this wrong,” he said, visibly shaken.
“I’ve ridden storms out here for years.”
People were out on Tuesday morning raking debris or picking it up with their hands and dropping it in rubbish bins.
Isaias spawned multiple tornadoes, including one that caused at least one death and multiple injuries as it flattened a mobile home park in Windsor, North Carolina, according to Bertie County Sheriff John Holley.
He said 10 homes were destroyed and crews are searching for several people who are unaccounted for.
“It doesn’t look real, it looks like something on TV. Nothing is there,” Holley told reporters.
“All my officers are down there at this time. Pretty much the entire trailer park is gone.”
The hurricane’s eye moved over land near Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina, just after 11pm local time on Monday with maximum sustained winds of 136 km/h and its top winds dropped to 117 km/h by early Tuesday.
But forecasters said hurricane-force gusts were likely in the Chesapeake Bay region, and tropical storm conditions were expected across New England on Tuesday night.
“Potentially life-threatening urban flooding is possible in DC, Baltimore and elsewhere along and just west of the I-95 corridor today,” the National Hurricane Center also warned.